JITL

5 Reasons Just-in-Time Learning Rocks

Are you looking for ways to improve upon your current learning programs? One easy thing you could try is providing just-in-time learning opportunities to your students. Just-in-time learning allows learners the opportunity to access the information and learning materials they need, when and where they need it. Here are 5 Reasons why it is worth giving just-in-time learning a try:

1. It personalizes learning

Ever had to sit through a class full of information you already knew or don’t need to know, just so you could pick up a couple of things that are relevant? Frustrating isn’t it? In a classroom setting, it can be difficult to personalize learning to each individual student. For some students you may be moving through material too quickly, and for others too slowly. However, just-in-time learning allows your students to pick and choose what information they need to focus on to fulfill their own learning needs. They don’t have to waste time or get distracted by information they already know, or information they are not going to need. Instead, they can focus on materials that will fill their own knowledge gaps.

2. Provide learning when they need it, where they need it

Our learners are accustomed to having information at their fingertips through their smartphones, tablets, and computers. And, just-in-time learning is perfect for fulfilling those expectations. Just-in-time learning allows us to provide learning materials and answers that students can access regardless of time and location. This means our learners no longer have to wait for us to offer a class when they want to learn a new skill, they no longer have to travel to a location, and they no longer have to worry about fitting it into their own busy schedules. They can literally access learnings at any hour of the day, and they can refer back to it as often as they need to.

3. Empowers learners to take charge of their own learning

Just-in-time learning encourages learners to identify their own skill and knowledge gaps and seek out ways to fill those. Rather than being told what they need to learn and having to follow a one-size-fits all program to fill those skill gaps, learners can actively identify their own skill and knowledge gaps in an applicable situation and seek to fill them instantly.  Again, just-in-time learning allows them to access the resources and training they need to fill those gaps as soon as they realize they exist without having to wait for a class to be offered. And, they can apply those skills directly to problems in the real-world as they are learning them.

4. Expands your offerings

Because just-in-time learning typically takes place in an online environment, you don’t need to devote resources to offering the same classes over and over again. This means you don’t have to devote classroom space, instructor time, or wait for enough interested students to offer a class. Instead, you can devote some of the time and resources you would have spent in the classroom to developing more online resources for your learners. And, these resources are reusable so they can be provided to as many learners as you want, as often as you want.

5. It is easier than you think

You may have to devote some time into creating some of these online resources such as quick reference guides, videos, and other multimedia. But once you have created a couple, you’ll find that this process becomes quicker and easier. And, you may not have to do it all yourself. Some of this material may already exist through services such as Lynda.com and the Microsoft IT Academy, which offer just-in-time learning videos. There are also other great resources available for free such as TED talks and Khan Academy.

Just-in-Time learning may not ever completely replace traditional learning, but it certainly can be a great addition to your current learning program. Check back with us next month and we’ll share some of the ways we’re using just-in-time learning in our own training program.

Are you using just-in-time learning? Tell us how it’s going in the comments below.

Alex is a dual-hatted (or should I say hooded) academic with Master’s degrees in both Anthropology and Educational Technology. Alex specializes in understanding the interactions between learners and technology, the socio-cultural learning environment, Web 2.0 learning strategies, and creating interactive, technology-enhanced learning experiences.

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